Spotlight: Kyle McCarthy
Also Returning: Sergio Brown, David Bruton, Jashaad Gaines, Leonard Gordon, Ray Herring, Harrison Smith
Lost: Tom Zbikowski (graduation)
Gained: Chris Bathon (walk-on), Dan McCarthy (freshman)
Both safeties are players to watch this fall, but for different reasons. David Bruton is getting the preseason hype from those who know, and he may be the most talented player on the Irish defense.
Kyle McCarthy, meanwhile, has been tasked with replacing Tom Zbikowski. McCarthy had a decent share of playing time at strong safety in 2007, thanks to Zbikowski's injuries and packages that had Tommy Z sliding down to a linebacker spot. McCarthy didn't look like a star, but he did prove himself to be a solid alternative.
Speaking of the three-safety package, Harrison Smith will slide down to SAM linebacker on spread and passing downs. Smith is also the backup free safety. Leonard Gordon too finds himself on the depth chart in multiple positions. Gordon is listed behind Terrail Lambert at right cornerback, and he is also in the mix as a backup strong safety.
Ray Herring may be undersized for a safety (5'10", 198 lbs.), but he is the backup to Kyle McCarthy. Kyle's brother Dan joins Notre Dame this year wearing the number 15 jersey. Here's hoping that Dan's play reminds people of Pat Terell more than Clifford Jefferson.